Articles Posted in Police Misconduct

The widow of a man who was killed when a police officer who was speeding in his patrol car slammed into his vehicle was awarded $2 million.The verdict culminated over three days of testimony regarding the accident that resulted in the victim’s death.The victim was stopped waiting to turn left into a supermarket when the police officer’s patrol car slammed into his vehicle,killing him. The officer was responding to a suspicious person call and was speeding between 78 and 80 mph with no emergency flashing lights or sirens.As an experienced trial attorney I have reviewed many cases of personal injury and have completed same with favorable results.

The death was a tragedy for all involved.The victim, an electrician,who was just meeting up with a friend to hang out that night, was only a few seconds away from being off the road when the crash occurred.That is all the time he needed, and this tragedy never would have happened.The police officer was reprimanded and suspended after the wreck. Three years after the wreck,the same officer was arrested on a drunken driving charge while off duty and the Police Department allowed him to resign in lieu of termination.The officer’s conduct in this case was not good, and the jury said so with its verdict. The jury never got to hear that the police officer’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit because the State Court Judge ruled that the evidence could not be admitted during the civil trial.The lawyer will appeal that ruling and also will appeal the judge’s pretrial ruling regarding the cap on verdicts. The county won’t have to pay the widow until the appeal is settled The widow said that she struggles with feelings of loss every day.I don’t believe there is such thing as closure,she said. You have to try hard to put it behind you and move on.
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A victim of police brutality sued a state trooper in federal court, claiming she shocked him with her Taser during a traffic stop, while he was sitting in his car and asking to speak to his lawyer. The victim claims that the Highway Patrol Trooper pulled him over while he was driving. She checked his license and other paperwork and then asked him to take a breath test for alcohol because she smelled alcohol in the car. The plaintiff said he wanted to speak to his lawyer before taking any tests, according to the lawsuit. He claims that the trooper pulled out her Taser and threatened to deploy it if he did not get out of the car. As a Maryland personal injury lawyer we have seen and investigated many similar cases on behalf of injured victims.

When he asked her not to fire the Taser, the trooper pressed it against his arm and fired. After the victim recovered, he again said he wanted to speak to his lawyer, the suit claims. Without further commands or warning, the trooper deployed the Taser on his arm again, he claimed. The lawsuit states that the Trooper threatened to fire the Taser again and arrested the plaintiff when he refused to take a field sobriety test.

The lawsuit claims the Trooper used excessive force and violated the victim’s constitutional rights. “We know that troopers do get sued from time to time,” he said. The defendant remains employed as a state trooper at the present time the spokesman said.
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The parents of a man who was fatally shot by Harbor Police after jumping off a chartered cruise ship two years ago has reached a tentative $2.5 million settlement in their wrongful-death lawsuit against a Pot Authority in California. The ship had been chartered for a gay pride weekend party, and the plaintiff was one of the event’s hired dancers. He jumped into San Diego Bay about 11 p.m. on July 19 and was shot about 30 minutes later during an altercation with two officers sent to pull him from the water. Police said the victim fought with an officer on a rescue boat and tried to grab his gun. A second officer then shot him.

The parents’ lawyer said the victim was not the aggressor, noting he was unarmed and shot in his back. The family filed a federal lawsuit in November 2008, claiming the Harbor Police violated their son’s civil rights and used excessive force.

“We know it was not a situation where he needed to be shot and killed,” said a Los Angeles attorney, citing forensic and physical evidence in the case. A Port spokesman stressed that the two officers, who were removed from the lawsuit, did not hold any personal biases against the victim or against gay people, referring to allegations the attorney had made. “They only went to save a life,” he said. “That is what they were trying to do.” The victim’s parents hoped their lawsuit would prompt authorities to examine police training policies, the lawyer said. They want their son to be remembered as “an ambitious, caring, loving (and) creative individual,” he said. About 800 people were onboard the 222-foot cruise ship Inspiration when the victim jumped into the bay.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU) and the Florida Justice Institute (FJI) today announced the filing of a federal class action lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County Sheriff. According to the ACLU and the FJI, the lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the Sheriff’s new postcard-only policy for jail inmate mail, which was established on July 26 of this year. This new policy severely restricts the free speech rights of inmates and their friends and family to communicate with each other. The ACLU and FJI are asking the court to order Santa Rosa County Sheriff to cease the unconstitutional practice of restricting jail inmates’ ability to communicate with family and friends by limiting their mail to short, publicly viewable messages on postcards. “Writing and sharing thoughts and artwork with loved ones is one of the most important things to help keep inmates connected to their loved ones and express their reflections while incarcerated,” said ACLU staff attorney. “Under the postcard-only policy Martin Luther King Jr. could not have sent the letter he sent from the Birmingham Jail on April 16, 1963, to his fellow clergymen. This postcard-only policy punishes inmates as well as their friends and family who reside outside the jail and have not been accused of any crime.” The sheriff does not see where this policy has violated the rights of any inmates at the jail he oversees. “Our inmates enjoy all privileges and rights as dictated by law, both state and federal. It is my understanding that the ACLU’s issue has been presented before the Federal courts several times and each time the courts have ruled in favor of this practice,” He said. “We will not, nor have we ever, interfered with an inmate’s right to communicate per statutory requirement. “This practice was initiated based on two factors: the cost to the taxpayers and the security of the facility.” The lawsuit questions and challenges the policy to their right of communication. Inmates may also communicate with family via collect calls or during visitation, which is one two-hour period per week. The ACLU and FJI question the fairness due to the expense of collect calls and if a loved one is working during visitation their opportunity would be missed. Both parties to the suit against all also challenge the lack of privacy as they feel telephone and in-person conversations are easily overheard by fellow inmates, guards and other visitors, leaving closed letter correspondence as the only confidential way to communicate with family and other loved ones. “Simply because a family member is in jail doesn’t mean he ceases to be part of the family,” said the Executive Director, Florida Justice Institute. “Yet, this postcard-only policy forces them to write everything in abbreviated form, which can be read by anyone, or write nothing at all. Inmates and their families and friends need to be able to discuss issues of health and finances and exchange words of encouragement in a complete and private way. Postcards simply do not allow that. “Inmates in these situations will be effectively silenced by the Sheriff’s new policy, or risk airing personal or confidential information to others and potentially put themselves in harm’s way.” The attorney also took to task the allegation this post card only policy is saving the jail money. “Allegations that this will save the jail a lot of money miss the mark. If the government believes that it must detain a person, then it must do so responsibly the attorney said. “While it costs over $50 a day to house each inmate, switching to two meals a day or turning off the A/C are simply not options. Depriving inmates and their friends and families of their ability to effectively communicate and continue relationships is not an option either. The cost argument is a red herring to draw attention away from the real matter, which is censoring speech. “A better way to save money would be to require arrestees who present no danger to the public and are not likely to flee to show up for a hearing rather than house them in the jail at the taxpayers’ expense.” The class action lawsuit represents a fluid population of approximately 500 people who are inmates at any one time in the Santa Rosa County jail.

If you or any relative has been subjected to State misconduct or you have been denied a claim or your civil rights call me at my offices located in Rockville or Baltimore at 1-800-320–0080 for a free consultation.